Schizophrenia—Gift or Illness?

In Western medicine, schizophrenics are considered to have a mental illness with symptoms that include hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions, and dysfunction. The current treatment for schizophrenia (with no cure) involves antipsychotic medications with side effects, such as tics, tremors, muscle spasms, weight gain (as much as 60 to 100 pounds in a short-time period that can lead to development of diabetes and high cholesterol), over-sensitivity to sunlight, and sleepiness or restlessness. The medications also dull the patients’ emotions, leading to apathy and withdrawal from life.

Shamans (indigenous spiritual leaders) have a very different opinion of schizophrenia. They believe that schizophrenics are spiritually gifted people who have a strong ability to communicate with spirits. Schizophrenics are in the midst of a spiritual awakening.

As soon as signs of schizophrenia are detected, shamans perform healings on the schizophrenics to remove any negative entities that may be attached to their energetic bodies. Without an overload of negative thoughts, the schizophrenics’ minds become clear. Next, the shamans teach these people to shamanic journey — a spiritual practice that allows them to utilize their gifts to converse with divine spirit guides, power animals and ancestors to receive healing and guidance for themselves and others.

I was given the chance to prove this age-old belief when “Andrew”, a schizophrenic, middle-aged truck driver, contacted me for a healing. He was constantly assaulted by negative voices and desperately wanted relief.

After I completed his remote healing, Andrew emailed me a lengthy description of what he had experienced while the healing took place. His details perfectly matched what I had seen and heard. This showed how spiritually connected he was. Ten months later, Andrew stated that the negative voices were bothering him less and less, and that he was doing well and able to keep his job.

Not long after this, a young man named “Steven” came to me for a healing. He was suffering from an undiagnosed mental illness, possibly schizophrenia or clinical depression.

Steven sat across from me not understanding why he felt this way or what to do about it. I explained to him that people who have schizophrenia are gifted with the ability to connect with spirits—a very powerful tool for a shaman who understands his gift and uses it wisely.

During this young man’s healing, it was revealed that he was once a powerful shaman in a previous life—but a shaman who had become consumed with his own power and misused it toward the end. He still held these tremendous powers, but didn’t yet realize it. However, the negative spirits could see his gift and were attacking him before he could remember his power and soar.

Steven’s healing consisted of learning the circumstances of his past and its effects on his current life, as well as forgiveness for his previous transgressions. He was also given a message to be careful not to commit the same error in this lifetime.

The negative spirits that had attached themselves to him were removed, and several angels agreed to help prevent the negative spirits from contacting him in the future. Four months later, Steven informed me that he had successfully gone off of his medication and was feeling noticeably better.

Since these early healings, I have performed dozens more for schizophrenics with life-changing results. Recently, a Stanford University graduate student who is undertaking a clinical study to examine the possibility of a spiritual component to schizophrenia contacted me. She wondered if I would pass along the information to my clients. I was more than happy to post it on social media and my blog. After her article is published, I hope the open-minded therapists who read it will consider the possibility that schizophrenics are in the midst of a spiritual awakening, and, if properly cared for, will become our future healers.

Shaman Elizabeth Herrera is a healer and author who began her shamanic path in 2002 and furthered her learning through the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, and is a student of A Course in Miracles. Elizabeth inherited her rebellious spirit from her father who was raised by his grandfather, a full-blooded Apache who smuggled sugar and flour from Mexico into Texas, exchanged gunfire with Texas Rangers, and crossed paths with Pancho Villa. To read the extended version of the healings mentioned in this article, read her book Shaman Stone Soup.


  1. “…the sensitive would be given guidance by the shaman to walk in the world of spirit without coming to any harm. They recognized that there is more than one dimension where both light and dark beings reside. The lesson is to not stop the voices so much as work with them in a way that you are in the control seat rather than being controlled by the energies tormenting you.”
  2. “In the shamanic view, mental illness signals ‘the birth of a healer,’ explains Malidoma Patrice Somé.  Thus, mental disorders are spiritual emergencies, spiritual crises, and need to be regarded as such to aid the healer in being born… we in the West are not trained in how to deal or even taught to acknowledge the existence of psychic phenomena, the spiritual world.  In fact, psychic abilities are denigrated.  When energies from the spiritual world emerge in a Western psyche, that individual is completely unequipped to integrate them or even recognize what is happening.” — excerpt from the book The Natural Medicine Guide to Schizophrenia by Stephanie Marohn.
  3. The Shamanic View of Mental Illness
  4. Schizophrenia or Possession? by M. Kemal Irmak

The Difference Between Schizophrenic Shamans and Schizophrenics

SSS Mems2

A shaman was once asked, “How do you know whether your shamanic journeys are real or just your imagination?” Her response was, “Is there a difference?”

I wonder if I wouldn’t be labeled “crazy” for seeing spirits and claiming  to have healing powers, if it weren’t for millenniums of shamans before me, successfully helping their tribes to heal, find game and evoke favorable weather patterns. Most shamans are schizophrenic, yet don’t have the problems associated with it in our culture.

First, shamans and schizophrenics both:

  • See spirits
  • Hear voices
  • Have claims of God speaking to them
  • Believe they have the power of God/Great Spirit within them

Their differences are:

  • Shamans can control when they see spirits (most of the time)
  • The spirits don’t control the shaman
  • Shamans don’t have episodes of being catatonic (they go into altered states intentionally)
  • Shamans can differentiate between this realm and other realms

The main difference is control. A shaman learns to control the interaction between the him/herself and the spirits, and controls the transition between the realms.

Another difference is schizophrenics can’t control the negative entities’ voices that bombard them to the point of making them catatonic, manic or violent. I personally have dealt with negative entities, but as a shaman, I have spirit guides and totem animals to shield me. A schizophrenic is dealing with it alone.

If you are schizophrenic, consider learning how to shamanic journey. It can change your life!

Ready for the Big Time?

Shaman Elizabeth

I received an inquiry from a casting director in NYC who is developing a new TV show on spiritual healers, shamans and medicine men and women. He invited me to submit a bio and an overview of my practice. It seems like a wonderful opportunity, yet I really can’t see a TV crew coming here to shoot my rather ordinary life.

I am sure they will be looking for magical happenings and blue smoke coming out from under doors. All they will find here is a woman raising two kids and a husband who works on the house on the weekends.

Miracles don’t always have an outward appearance. Sometimes a healing is peace of mind or being able to forgive an old wound.

Shamans have dealt with the “outward appearance” problem throughout time and have developed rituals, dances and other displays to help people feel that something was “really” happening. But, rituals have never been my “thing.” Sure, I have a few that help prepare people to lay on a healing bed with a quiet mind, but I doubt that burning sage and hitting my buffalo drum a few times is going to be a show stopper.

And, would the TV crew catch the spontaneous miracles, such on the one I experienced with my mom a few days after she suddenly passed away? She gave me the greatest miracle I have ever experienced, and yet, it wouldn’t have been visible on camera…it was of another realm. (To read about this miracle, click here.)

When my mother died over a year ago, I lost my biggest supporter and it sent me into a tail spin. Before, when I would question my path, she was the one to gently remind me that there was nothing more important than healing. She was the one to alleviate my doubts. Since her passing, I have had to build my trust in the Spirit’s guidance with no mortal reassurance. This is ultimately a good thing, but it’s a journey that I haven’t finished.

How would I explain returning to my previous profession and taking a job as a creative marketing manager after her death, because it pays much better than healing. Or the healing that has taken place as I found myself working among people on spiritual paths so different from my own?

Stepping outside the “new age” community has expanded my opportunities to face old fears and provided accelerated healing opportunities. I am unraveling the constrictive labels of healer and shaman, because ultimately, we have to let go of everything. I know that when I have shed the limiting skin of this world, I will find the only thing that truly matters…my perfect spirit.

I don’t regret taking the job—not after all the healing that has taken place. I needed to remember what it was like feel like a “normal” person, if only to let go of it. Each conflict at work allowed me to bring to the surface my unconscious guilt, fear, anxiety, jealousy, and even the pain from the death of my mother, which I offered to the Spirit for healing.

For example, I learned that my resistance at working for someone else was symbolic of my resistance of doing the work the Spirit was guiding me to do. I learned that when I didn’t want to do more work than was asked of me and felt stingy about giving it, it was symbolic of me withholding the Spirit’s gifts from myself. I learned that when I felt powerless on the job, it was symbolic of me feeling like a victim of this world, instead of the creator of my life.

And now, I find myself torn between following shamanism, which has been so helpful to my spiritual growth and a loving comfort on my journey, and coming to a fork in the road where I feel the need to let go of this and all modalities. That ultimately, the only thing that matters is unlimited communication with the Spirit, letting love flow freely, and knowing that there is no separation between me and the whole world.

Laugh, Live, Love

I shamanic journeyed today to try and find direction for my life. I journeyed to the middle realm and was ushered by spirit warriors to a fire pit. The ancestors arrived and we sat around the fire and passed a peace pipe. One of the ancestors began to talk. His first words were, “Laugh, live, love.” I knew the words meant that everything else was not that important. Our job, our car, the house – were all just meaningless details. I begin to think that my occupation doesn’t have to bring in a lot of money as long as I love what I do. “Aha!” I hear. One of the ancestors agrees with my thoughts. I continue with this train of thought. What would I love to do? What can I be proud of?

I consider starting a holistic directory. It’s communication. It will bring people together who are searching for their spiritual path. It seems like a noble path to follow. But, I am concerned that I am following the “realistic” path that this world values. I want to be sure that my thought process is following the divine will for me.

The sky opens and I begin to fly! Up towards the light, passed the clouds, beyond this universe into the light. A hand reaches down and picks me up. I am settled into a bright cloud where I sit and talk with my Creator. Like so often happens, the conversation is erased from my mind. I can see myself sitting there, I know I would have expressed my concern that I follow his will. Now, I remember a bit… he mentions that he also wants to see what I do with this life. That he is often disappointed that we don’t remember that we are sons and daughters of God… which means we have the power of God within us. We walk around limited by our own thoughts. Living disappointing lives and going to jobs we hate. This is not the way it is supposed to be!

I am returned by my Creator’s hand to the middle realm. Where I sit once again with the ancestors. One nods and says, “God is good.” The others nod in agreement. No big ceremony here!

I go on a vision, where I am in a temple with two people sitting up front. I walk up front and sit next to them, but realize that I feel unworthy to sit there. They turn to me and motion for me to go up front and stand in front of a giant Buddha that is glowing with light. When I turn around, the pews are filled with people and Buddha reminds me that we are glorious and worthy, and that includes me.

A power smolders within. I need to find courage to be myself and live the glorious life that I was meant to live. Does it come from me? It certainly doesn’t come from my thoughts or this body. I will have to rely on my spirit – that part of me that has never lost its power to help me remember my glorious self. And live a life that is courageous and successful in terms of having laughed, lived and loved enough. The rest is just details.

Blessed journeys!

Shaman Film Documentary

Here is a link to a film on YouTube which documents shamans:

A film by David Cherniack Productions in association with Global Vision Corporation and Mystic Fire Video Fire on the Mountain: “A Gathering of Shamans” is a documentary about the connection between consciousness and nature, as embodied in the spiritual traditions of Indigenous Peoples, whose ecological metaphors of the sacred are so relevant to the modern world.

Can I Pray for You? Is Permission Needed to Heal?

When is the last time someone asked your permission to pray for you? Were you offended if they prayed without your consent? Most of us would appreciate the effort regardless of whether we had different religious beliefs (or none).

But, if you ask most shamans, they would say that it is unethical to perform a healing for someone without their permission? Why is that?

I have performed many healings for friends without their permission and sometimes without their knowledge. Why? Because I cared about them and wanted them to be healed. I wasn’t concerned about getting permission, because ultimately, the healing is not from me. I may request the healing, but I do not have the power to give it. The divine source provides the power to heal.

It’s my role as a shaman to ask permission from my spirit guide, and if granted, continue with the healing request. If it’s not my place to ask, the spirit guides won’t grant the healing, and sometimes my power animal will block me from asking for the healing. If the healing is granted, but the person does not want to be healed—they won’t be healed. Our free will is never imposed on by enlightened spirits.

Sometimes during my shamanic journeys, the spirit guides will mention people who need healing and so I request a healing for them. Since the request was spontaneous, I obviously did not have the people’s permission, but I usually will tell them afterward that a healing was performed.

Even so, I do prefer that the person knows and gives permission for their healing request for several reasons. First, I want them to consciously accept the healing—it won’t happen if they don’t want it. I would also like them to experience the miracle for themselves. If they suddenly are well, but don’t know the reason, they miss out on knowing that they received a miracle and that the Divine Source cares about them.

Blessed journeys!

Dark and Light Force Healings

My mother told me the other day, that some people have expressed concern about whether my healings come from an enlightened source. They were afraid that dark forces are at work (perhaps in disguise?).

My answer was, “We are always following either a dark or light force. It’s a moment by moment decision, whether it’s conscious or unconscious.”

Our actions and thoughts reflect which force we are following. Every action or thought that isn’t loving is following the dark force. This doesn’t make us evil, just mistaken. A mistake that can be changed instantly by correctly our perception and thereby changing our behavior. By consciously choosing to follow the light force, we greatly increase our consistency in following this path.” Although we all make mistakes – it’s part of being human.

I respect people’s concern about the power source behind the healings I offer. It is easy to fear what we don’t understand, and there is some basis for their fears. There are shamans who follow a dark path, but you will find that in any practice or religion throughout the world. Although, most shamans and energy healers have the best intentions and follow a higher calling, I urge you to choose a healer as carefully as you would a doctor or spiritual teacher. Make sure their ideologies and skills are ones you admired and respect. A healer is a catalyst through which power flows through. It’s okay to ask where the power comes from.

Blessed journeys!

Well-behaved Kids Don’t Just Happen

“Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are to some extent a gift. Good character, by contrast, is not given to us. We have to build it piece by piece by thought, choice, courage and determination.”
– John Luther

I received an email from a friend today stating how much she had enjoyed my children’s company and how well behaved they are. It’s comforting to know that others find my kids well behaved, but most importantly, that people are valuing what is inside my children.

…When I first knew you, I admired your business sense and talent (still do actually) but as I have become older and my priorities have become more clear to me, I most admire you for what you have given of yourself as a mother to assure that the two young lives entrusted to you are raised so that they will have great character and strong values. If I were to say that Savannah and Zach are beautiful children both inside and out, that would sum it up perfectly.

I hope that when other people see my children who are happy and well-adjusted, that I inadvertently promote a more holistic and maybe even a shamanistic approach. An approach that has raised a son who formed a “worm club” to save worms every morning at the bus stop from drying out on the sidewalk. And a daughter, who yesterday carried a bug outside the house instead of squishing it. When I see these actions in my kids, I know they have learned values about life and love that have been built over time. Hopefully, they will go forth as adults to promote healing just by being loving.

Blessed journeys!

The Four Directions

The native Americans have long practiced calling on the spirits from the four directions (North, South, East and West) to create a sacred space and provide protection and energy for ceremonies and healing sessions. I called on the spirits during a shaman group gathering a few months ago and found that the energy flowing through me was so intense that I was sweating during the entire gathering.

I associate the four directions with seasons. The East with Spring because the sun rising in the East represents a new beginnings and fresh start. The South with Summer for its warm breezes, loving energy and energy from the Sun to help us grow and flourish. The West with Fall – representing the end of day and the end of the growing season. A time to reap what you have sown and give thanks. And finally, the North with Winter’s long, cold days requiring patience and endurance. That which is weak dies. A purging of our soul that allows us to be fertile for when Spring comes again.

Blessed journeys!

Shamanism vs. “A Course in Miracles”

I read A Course in Miracles (ACIM) book a year ago in August, because I wanted to compare the beliefs in this book against shamanism. The writings were channeled by Helen Schucman and put into words by William Thetford, both professors at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. The channeling was a strange occurrence to have happened to an atheist professor who had never practiced metaphysical activities.

Last August, my family and I were about to take a two week road trip from Florida to Michigan to visit family, and I knew I would have a lot of time to read. My father had given me the A Course in Miracles book several years earlier, but I had only read the first page to where it stated, “All miracles mean life, and God is the Giver of life…” when I saw the word God I had stopped reading. The book had sat in my bookshelf ever since. But I had changed my viewpoint on God since then, although not religion. I wanted to read A Course in Miracles to see how it claimed miracles occurred and whether it was a different thought process than shamanic healing.

The ACIM book is written in a biblical style and is difficult to read. To be able to read as much as possible and utilize my time on the road, I would read a paragraph or page at a time and set it aside for a few minutes. Once the words sunk in, I would resume reading. In the several days it took to reach Michigan, a week visiting family, and the travel back to Florida, I managed to read the entire book except for the daily lessons.

I was surprised that I could not find anything in A Course in Miracles that contradicted shamanism. In fact, it added valuable insight into how shamanic healing occurs. ACIM talks of how there are teachers of teachers (teachers in spirit form) such as Jesus and others. In shamanism, the others would be called spirit guides. In a religious context, they might be called saints, angels and the Holy Spirit. In my shamanic journeys, I work with spirit guides, Jesus and angels, as well as nature spirits, ancestors, and animal totems.

ACIM talks of how miracles alter space and time to undo the perception of illness. I have seen for myself how a past life healing can cut the karmic ties between a past and present life. And, a soul retrieval can release the negative effects of a past trauma through acknowledgement and forgiveness.

Shamanism is the oldest known spiritual practice and has endured because it follows truths that have stood the span of time. The book, A Course in Miracles, although a much more recent revelation, offers ancient truths and is a perfect companion to my shamanic practice.

The Red Button

English: Michael Jackson 2nd June 1988. "...

English: Michael Jackson 2nd June 1988. “Wiener Stadion” venue in Vienna, Austria. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had a dream last night about Michael Jackson after his death.

In the dream, Michael Jackson was preparing for a concert. The sound system was being tested, the dancers were warming up and the family and friends were mingling. However, when someone on stage asked Michael to decide whether to “push the red button,” he felt he didn’t have the authority to give the go ahead. He kept glancing at his mother and the men around her for permission. Then, I noticed that the stadium was full of cheering fans, yet the red button still hadn’t been pushed. The pressure from the fans and family grew and he looked scared. I came up behind him and said, “Michael, it’s okay to leave.”

He then strode up the aisle triumphantly, pushed through the double doors, and left the building. When I looked back, I saw Don King, Michael’s father and other men of prominence lying on the edge of the stage, sick and trembling with Michael’s mother standing over them.

After the dream was over I thought about what I had seen…an overview of a life that was filled with great talent, but ultimately, one that had a much deeper and important role to play…his spiritual path. The dreamed showed him releasing his fears and dealing with the age-old struggle of following his heart versus doing what was expected of him from the society and those closest to him. Most important, I saw a man, who after his death, took a step back and looked at his life from a different perspective and chose to follow his heart.

Living the Shamanic Life in a Modern World

I have been thinking about the direction of this blog. It seems that offering overviews of soul retrieval, aura cleansings and healings don’t really seem the right direction. After all, those explanations are pretty standard. I thought it would be more interesting to offer insight on how living a shamanic life impacts family, career, friends and community.

Raising children as a shaman can be a balancing act living in a modern society setting. For instance, how can I raise my children to understand that we are all connected if I criticize them for giving away a favorite toy (because another kid admired it). How do I explain that everything is alive – yes, even that stuffed animal, and not get worried when my son goes to school and tells his classmates that the stuffed animal is alive! I worry that my lifestyle will impact their social opportunities and whether other kids will sit with them on the bus. I worry, yet none of my fears come to fruition. They are social, have lots of friends, and still understand that they are realms that are real that cannot be seen with our “eyes.” They seem to self regulate what they say and intuitively know who will be receptive and who won’t.

For instance, my son, age 9, had asked if he could show his friend my “rock collection.” I think, sure why not. Every kids like stones and crystals. When I began to wonder what was taking them so long, the two kids finally appeared. I asked my son how his friend liked the rocks and why they were up there so long. It turns out my son had used the rocks to build a circle around his friend and was sending him healing energy. Fear rises in me! What if he tells his parents? I ask my son what his friend thought of that and he simply says, “He liked it,” and runs outdoors. I start to think I am making this too complicated. Kids understand. It’s me that is learning to live in this society and undo years of conditioning and teachings. Learning to let go of the fears that seem to come with being raised in modern world.